AAFES says it's doing its best to acquire Moore film for base theaters
July 29, 2004
WASHINGTON — Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” might not be playing on overseas bases anytime soon, but AAFES promised Wednesday it’s doing its best to acquire copies of the film.
Spokesman Judd Anstey said that “the status is unchanged” from four weeks ago, when AAFES said that the only factor in getting a movie is its popularity, and that the controversy surrounding Fahrenheit 9/11 would not affect the decision.
A source at the Navy Motion Picture Service, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Navy had not yet made a decision as to whether to pursue the film for overseas and shipboard showings.
Anstey said that with it being a documentary, there just aren’t enough prints to go around at the moment, a sign perhaps that its popularity in the United States might result in even longer waits for servicemembers overseas.
In just over five weeks, the movie has grossed more than $103 million in the United States and is by far the highest-grossing documentary of all time, besting “Bowling for Columbine,” another Moore documentary, which took in just over $21 million.
Anstey said that a film like Will Smith’s “I, Robot,” is already playing at overseas theaters not because AAFES pursued it, but because distributors have plenty of prints and are saturating the market.
He drew a comparison to Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which also had a smaller print run than standard Hollywood fare, but which has grossed $370 million since February.
“With ‘The Passion,’ it took us two months to get that into overseas theaters,” Anstey said. “We’re at five weeks now [that “Fahrenheit 9/11 has been out].”
For servicemembers venturing off base to see the film, the movie opened last week in Korean theaters throughout the country; it is slated to open in Japan in late August. It has opened in England and Spain, is scheduled to open in Germany this week and in Italy in late August.
In Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing, Moore set up a 9 p.m. showing Wednesday night.
The Crawford Peace House asked Moore for a copy of his film “Fahrenheit 9/11” when it appeared that no movie theater in the president’s home county would show the anti-Bush documentary.
Organizers expect about 1,000 people to attend.
Crawford’s police chief, Donnie Tidmore, said some residents of the community 20 miles west of Waco planned to demonstrate against the movie.
“I personally think we’re just a little town, and it’s kind of an invasion in our small town,” said Fran Shelton, whose family owns the Crawford Coffee Station. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I’d be happier if he didn’t bring it to Crawford.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.